It has been a really busy couple of months on the show, so sorry about the delay in doing another blog but here it is…
Derry passed really quickly, when you do two weeks in a venue by the time the show opens it is suddenly time to pack again, plus we were all really excited about our season in Dublin.
The Dublin adventure started at 10am on the Sunday morning with most of the company travelling together on coach. The journey through Ireland was really beautiful and most of the company even managed to keep it a ‘quiet coach’ for as the production crew (who had been working all night) were also travelling on it – with our company that really is a major achievement!
The Grand Canal Theatre is the most amazing building, it is only a year old and truly an amazing theatre to visit and work in. The stage is vast, the auditorium has amazing sight lines and for a large theatre it is surprisingly intimate. The theatre district is around the canal, with a real continental feel. With the amazing light features, restaurants and bars, you forget you are in the middle of a big city.
When the theatre was designed, so much thought was put into backstage as well. There are so many dressing rooms so everyone has space, all the corridors are carpeted and it actually feels more like working in a 5-star hotel than a theatre. The favourite thing for me was the leather reclining seats in most of the rooms, perfect for a cheeky nap between shows.
The buzz about the show in Dublin was amazing and we were really thrilled that every one of the 31 shows got a standing ovation. The staff at the Grand Canal couldn’t have been friendlier, as was the welcome we got everywhere in Ireland.
As it was the Easter holidays the Von Trapp’s got plenty of time to explore Dublin and the surrounding areas and even had a couple of days at the beach. They also had enormous fun flying backwards and forwards. I travelled with the children as one team flew back from Derry and give massive credit to our chaperones. Travelling with seven excited Von Trapps through an airport certainly was an experience!
It was great to have Mr Donovan’s family with us in Dublin, and Zac and Gemma are now honorary Assistant Stage Managers as they followed our ASM’s Mim and Clint for the show.
It was a holiday for everybody apart from Frank (Resident Director), Jonny (Resident Children’s Director) and Tom (Children’s Musical Director) who had to go to London to start rehearsing with our new Von Trapps. Six months passes so quickly, and this time all but 3 of the children are being replaced – these children are with us now until the end of the tour.
After the splendour and space of The Grand Canal Theatre, we were brought back down to earth with a bump in Glasgow. Although it’s a very beautiful theatre, we were back to squashed dressing rooms, no space for anything plus a children’s cast change meant we had an extra 21 people in the building. From the moment we arrived in Glasgow it rained, in fact it rained every day (apart from the last two) of the four weeks we were there. This didn’t actually matter that much as we were all in cast change mode.
To say goodbye to our old teams we gave each of them a party, and as suggested by James (our Stage Manager) each one was Pirate-themed, with the children in Pirate fancy dress – although one of the children did come as a banana and another as a sumo wrestler..! We had three fun parties between shows and an enormous amount of pizza and chocolate was consumed. Then it was time for final dress rehearsals and opening performances of our three new teams. We have got this like a military operation now, Trish (Wardrobe Department) is the most organised person you have ever met, wardrobe is a mass of lists and colour coded hangers. Frank really doesn’t hang around when rehearsing so this cast change felt much quicker. The three new teams really did great first performances and seem to have settled in well. Speaking of settling in, I think for the first couple of venues Jason Donovan had lulled us into a false sense of security and was (almost)on his best behaviour at work, this slipped in Glasgow and on a number of occasions both myself and Verity were attacked by him and the water spray he had ‘borrowed’ from wigs. We have had the best couple of months with Jason, he really is so much fun to work with – and we can’t wait for him to come back later in the year. On the subject of Wigs , Rose our fab Wigs Mistress left the show in Glasgow – it is always sad when people move on to do other projects and we will really miss her.
Then time for Leeds. The Grand in Leeds is one of the best theatres on tour, it is such a beautiful and unusual theatre. The auditorium and Front of House were restored recently and anyone with any interest in theatre must see it. Backstage has had some work done but still has such a great atmosphere, it really feels like working in a museum. It is also our lovely Maria Verity’s home town, so every show so far she has had loads of people in. Plus (and coming from Yorkshire I am very biased) Yorkshire audiences are really lovely and the staff at the theatre couldn’t be more welcoming.
At the end of this week Jason takes a break from The Sound of Music to rediscover his 80’s roots on the ‘Hear and Now‘ tour and it certainly will be quiet without him. Also at the end of this venue we say goodbye to some lovely cast and crew – Simone, Carly, Alyssa, Fiona, Neil, Kirk, Sophie, Jonny and Len.
After Leeds the show has two rehearsals before the final tour starts in Nottingham – two years has gone so quickly…
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